FRANKFURT, March 3 Travel industry players
heading to the world's biggest tourism trade fair in Berlin next
week could face flight disruptions after ground staff at the
city's two airports voted in favour of strikes in a pay dispute.
Labour union Verdi said on Friday that 98.6 percent of
balloted workers at Schoenefeld and Tegel airports were in
favour of industrial action.
Verdi wants an increase in pay for ground staff to 12 euros
an hour from about 11 euros as part of a one-year collective
agreement. Workers have walked out several times in recent
weeks, forcing the cancellation of more than 300 flights.
The union has described as insufficient management's offer
of a four-year deal with annual pay rises of 1 percent, about 10
cents an hour.
The employers, a group of airport ground services providers,
said in a statement that their goal remains to find a solution
at the negotiating table. Verdi says the employers have until
Tuesday to improve their offer.
The ITB fair in Berlin, which starts on Wednesday, attracted
120,000 trade visitors last year and will draw airline and tour
operator executives as well as ministers from countries
including Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. The fair runs to March 12.
Berlin's airports are served by carriers including Air
Berlin, Lufthansa, easyJet and
Ryanair, among others.
Verdi is also negotiating pay for workers at other airports
in Germany, including Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Cologne.
In Stuttgart it had called for a walkout by ground staff
from 3.30am local time (0230 GMT) on Friday. Employers' group
SGS said there were no strike-related flight cancellations by
midday, though some passengers faced delays at check-in
Ground staff jobs include the checking in of passengers,
loading and unloading planes and directing aircraft on the
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Goodman)